Amanda Raus, Chris Podosek
A New Haven restaurant owner is facing a string of labor law violations and employees hope the investigation will bring them the money they say they earned but never received
A New Haven restaurant owner is facing a string of labor law violations and the case was continued on Tuesday.
Chung Cho did not appear in court on Tuesday. Attorneys from both sides in the case exchanged paperwork and the case was continued to April 8.
Employees of Gourmet Heaven in New Haven hope the investigation will bring them the money they say they earned but never received.
For seven years, Julio Olivar worked in the deli at Gourmet Heaven, even though he and other employees say they weren’t being paid for the time they worked.
"About, about $20,000, and that’s just for the past two years because unfortunately, we can’t claim for the past seven years," said Olivar.
Olivar’s claim is now part of a Department of Labor investigation that started last summer and ended in the arrest of Cho, 50.
"We found that Mr. Cho had not paid overtime and minimum wage to almost all his workers, at least the ones that we got records for," said Blair Bertaccini, principal investigator for the Connecticut Department of Labor, at a news conference Wednesday.
Cho now faces a number of charges for reportedly failing to pay more than $200,000 in wages and defrauding immigrant laborers. No one was home at his house in Woodbridge when NBC Connecticut tried to reach him for comment.
New Haven Board of Aldermen President Jorge Perez said he wants all businesses in New Haven to thrive, but to do it fairly.
"It’s important for not only fair competition, but for quality of life issues. If a person does an honest day’s work, that person should get paid that wage that was promised to them," said Perez.
Julio Olivar is hoping that in the wake of this this arrest, he'll eventually be paid the $20,000 he said he's owed.
"He has to first treat the workers better, pay the workers what he owes. He owes the workers a lot of money. For the past month I’ve been struggling just to put gas in my car so I can go looking for a job, it’s really bad," said Olivar.